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10 important tips for creating a professional CV
Your CV must immediately stand out as most recruiters make a decision on your CV within 10 seconds. As the saying goes; you only get one chance to make a good first impression
Ensure your CV is written solely with the recruiter’s requirement in mind. For example, you might like fancy fonts and colour but the recruiter will not be interested. Try to imagine what will be important for them and put your own preferences aside
Tailor your CV specifically for the type of job you wish to apply for e.g. do not use the same CV if you are applying for both a bus driver and sales role
2 pages (or sometimes on to a 3rd) page is usually enough for any CV, even management.
Ensure you include full detail of the skills you have as your CV must demonstrate to the recruiter that you capable of doing their job
For each role (work experience) that you include in your CV try to aim for no more than 6 bullet points of information / responsibilities (ideally one line per bullet point). The last 10 years is most important; no need to detail your roles in the 80’s!
Detail only the education / qualifications / courses attended that are relevant to the role being applied for. As an example, obtaining School Certificate in 1965 is now not important to highlight
Be consistent with the formatting; make similar types of headings the same font and size, use same bullet points throughout, do not over use capitals, italics, underlines etc.
Do not include information that is irrelevant; for example certain accounting software packages used if applying for shop assistant role, out of the ordinary hobbies or anything that can potentially be used to discriminate against you e.g. age, nationality, religion, etc.
In all cases send your CV with a well written cover letter that specifically addresses all points detailed in the job advertisement. The letter is just as important as the CV and each document will be read in conjunction with each other.
Tips for a great CV
Be very positive in everything you write, you only have one opportunity to sell yourself with your CV. Use vibrant language and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the application
Keep it simple and easy to read, proof read 3 times to ensure no errors
Alter the CV slightly to suit different roles you may apply for
Emphasis the key strengths you have for the type of job you are applying for
Try to list no more than 6 key responsibilities for each role, remember it is key responsibilities being shown, not all responsibilities
Try to detail 1 or 2 good achievements for each of your last couple of roles, this will make you standout from other applicants with similar work history
Make sure that gaps in your employment are explained
Ensure your CV is 100% honest and you can justify any information that you have detailed
When sending your CV attach a covering letter that addresses all the points included in the job advertisement
Tips on the best layout for your CV
Aim for a maximum of 3 pages if possible
Use standard fonts and keep the look consistent ie font sizes, underlining, use of bold etc
Do not include your photo (unless you are a model or entertainer maybe)
You do not require borders, boxes, fancy layout, colour paper etc. Recruiters are interested in the words more than anything
Emphasis strengths on the first page
Include a summary of your work history (last 2-3 roles) on the first page, or if you are just starting out summarise your Education instead
Ensure you include a footer that says ‘Curriculum Vitae of .........’ and number the pages
Tips on a good cover letter
Remember the cover letter is as important as the CV in the eyes of the recruiter
Let your own personal style be reflected in the letter
Ensure your letter addresses the important job requirements detailed in the job advertisement
Make sure that when the recruiter has finished reading the letter that they will be left in no doubt that you are suitable for the role
Include a strong final paragraph inviting the recruiter to contact you for an appointment
How to impress at a job interview
Create an excellent first impression; the first 30 seconds are vital
Be positive, enthusiastic and friendly
Be on time and be dressed to impress
Always give specific answers to questions, never give generic answers
Ask questions; ask about the company, the role, and their company values, the people. Show them that you are interested in their business
Emphasis why you are the best person for the role and make sure they understand that before you leave the interview
More tips for a good CV
Your CV has to be tailored for that employer. Remember that all jobs are different and so are all employers. Your CV must address specific criteria and always be relevant to the position.
Keep your CV interesting with the aim to make a great first impression as you only get once chance to impress
Ensure your CV is clear, concise and to the point
Aim to keep your CV to no more than 3 pages unless you have exceptional levels of work experience, achievements or qualifications
Proof read your CV, double check then triple check for errors, especially the really simple ones as they are usually the errors that are the most easily missed
Always be as positive as you about your abilities but remember honesty is always the best policy
Ensure there is always some content that will make your CV stand out from the crowd
Consider changing your email address if you have one like; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org - not likely to impress an employer!